April 2012 Open Thread

It’s the first of the month, that month being April, so a new open thread is, well, open.

To get things started:

46 responses to “April 2012 Open Thread”

  1. a Milwaukie councilman was accused of having a conflict of interest with regard to the project.

    It is my opinion that if he was against the project because his property was going to get taken or see other negative effects, that would be a conflict of interest, too, but opponents would have no problem with it.

  2. I fail to see what is wrong with giving fare inspectors quotas. The police are given quotas for speeding tickets all the time. And what is wrong with targeting the Yellow Line? I would assume TriMet is acting on evidence that more fare evasion occurs on that line. It shouldn’t be a controversy at all.

  3. I’ve got no problem with a quota for some combination of CONTACTS and tickets, to make sure the inspector is doing his job.

    Ticket quotas tend to encourage heavy-handed (and in some cases, unfair) law enforcement.

    TriMet had better have their evidential ducks in a row if they are going to concentrate enforcement in a neighborhood traditionally identified as African-American (I say “traditionally” because NoPo has experienced some significant gentrification over the past decade). If regular surveys of riders establish this neighborhood as a hotbed of violations, and TriMet is simply responding to the data (and can show it in court if necessary), then fine. If the decision is based on anything else, the agency is asking to be sued.

  4. Something missed last month:

    The Oregon Legislature has approved a spending bill which provides $5 million to close the funding gap on the Sellwood Bridge, created when Clackamas County voters voted down a proposed license fee to help fund the project. The bill also budgets $9.5M to safety improvements on NW Cornelius Pass Road over the West Hills.

    One wonders… will the $5M be taken out of some Clackamas County project to be named later?

  5. Oregon Iron Works wins some more business: Washington DC’s District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has selected OIW to provide two streetcars for their H Street/Benning Road line.

  6. Good. The clock skew issue on the server has been fixed by our hosting service. Thanks for noticing, Jason!

  7. Given all the recent discussion about combining Parkrose and Fremont bus routes, how to make Gateway more efficient, I went off in my own little world and sketched a random idea for Gateway, which was the neighborhood I grew up in.

    Rebuilding Gateway Transit Center

    This is looking ahead 15-20 years, which includes a new Red Line alignment that runs under I-205 bypassing Gateway altogether. Buses would get their own ramp off the Halsey St overpass. The Green Line and Blue Line would have a new NE 102nd Ave station, and have their own ROW (shared with buses) along the blighted side of 102nd Ave, so the heavy traffic and LRV/buses don’t get choked up at Glisan St.

    The idea here is to increase efficiency for both bus and rail, encourage transit-oriented development while serving inner-Gateway with minimal impact on automobile traffic lanes.

  8. Interesting article comparing the layouts of ancient and modern Rome, and how their designs affect the lot of pedestrians.

    (Portland, fortunately, more resembles the modern city of Rome).

  9. This weekend marked the first time I’ve ridden one of the largest transit systems in the country: LA Metro! Here’s my thoughts/comparisons:

    • Cash and smart-card-only (“Tap”) system, the farebox and the transit operator can board other riders while a cash-paying rider is forking it over ($1.50). Unlike the Puget Sounds “Orca” cards, the Tap cards are much more worth it ($2), and multiple-day passes are rolling 7 and 30-day passes loaded onto the card.
    • Their “Rapid” routes are much more than a gimmick: they’re very usable, run all day (although some don’t run some/all of the weekend), provide more options than the “local” bus routes (for example, the local route might run to one terminus and the Rapid runs to a further point), and run throughout the service area. If anyone else remembers the old TriMet 74, imagine similar routes that run both directions all day long with newer buses.
    • Never did I ride a 20-year-old bus with no air conditioning. In fact, their NABI-built buses are very nice and relatively clean for the level of ridership their routes get.
    • Despite the efforts of activists, it’s amazing how grossly under-serviced many routes are given the ridership on them.
    • LA Union Station is AWESOME! (Capital letters intended.) Amtrak, as well as local rail and buses all run in/out of there.
    • The rail system is overrated.
    • LA’s Chavez Ave. makes Portland’s look like an offensive slap in the face.
    • Common people of LA are actually very nice and friendly despite the stereotypes about them (even if you’re an obvious tourist).
  10. KATU:
    Invalid signatures derail foes of MAX Vanc. light rail extension

    My note: At the bottom of the article you learn that this is not “game over” for LRT opponents, they still have some time to collect more signatures. But 2/3 were invalid? Wow. Anyone know if there is more to this story?

  11. Bob, some of the signatures were more than six months old. And some of them were not actually within the city limits of Vancouver, but the signers thought of themselves as residents. The signature gatherers should have made this more clear.

  12. Ah, like all of my friends that say they “live in Portland” when they actually live 10 miles west of the city limits in unincorporated Washington Co or Beaverton?

  13. Sure it’s from Yahoo! and should probably be taken with a grain of salt, but this article touches on some interesting implications for large-scale transportation projects (although the price tag for the project featured in the article makes the projected CRC cost almost look like chump change).

  14. A useful reminder to those who think the tough anti-sprawl watchdog in Oregon is Metro.

    It isn’t–it’s LCDC, which has once again bounced back a Metro land use proposal.

  15. The “Big Pour”, for the western pile cap for the new MLR bridge, is underway as I write (and has been for a while). About 1700 cubic yards of concrete is being poured to form the base for the western bridge pier.

  16. ATU 757 is circulating a petition to Governor Kitzhaber, calling on the governor to direct the TriMet board (who serves at his pleasure) to fire general manager Neil McFarlane.

    Whether he does or does not do so, it may well be the case that the governor will, more and more, start to own the TriMet situation. TriMet’s already made a few appeals to Salem, and now the ATU is responding. This may well turn into an issue which gets decided in Salem rather than locally.

  17. IMHO, as an observer to the situation I think ousting McFarlane would do more harm than good, the situation could always get much worse (cue the clip of “Christmas Vacation” where Chevy Chase says “Worse? How could they get any worse?! We’re at the threshold of Hell!” Low and behold things got worse). I really wish TriMet could build the “total transit system” described in the TIP while retiring the old Metros and Phantoms and without mysteriously cutting service in outlying areas while building/opening rail routes, I really do.

    Circulating an initiative petition to have members of the TriMet board elected where all candidates are also limited to the lowest levels of contributions and spending (IIRC less than $350) would be a better solution. At least IMO.

  18. Where’s the petition to fire the drunk who runs the bus driver’s union? Fundamentally a convicted drunk driver should not be running a bus driver’s union.

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